MRI scans taken by a researcher of his own brain over the last 18 months reveal brain changes not observed before. Studying the behaviour of his brain over a year and a half — with a frequency of twice a week — professor Poldrack from Stanford University was able to notice that having a cup of coffee makes small changes in your brain just like skipping breakfast does.
Thus, the professor was able to notice the changes in ‘connectome’ — the way different parts of the brain communicate. On the days he fasted, Poldrack’s brain showed different levels of connectivity from the lack of caffeine.
Increase in coffee consumption is dangerous
People who increased their coffee consumption over time to more than a cup a day (in other words, they were at some point one-cup drinkers and gradually inflated their habit) had twice the rate of MCI as people who reduced their habit to one or less cups a day. Those who increased their habit also had a one and a half times higher rate of MCI than people with a steady one-cup-a-day routine. People who consistently drank one to two cups a day had a lower rate of MCI than people who rarely or never consumed coffee.
Coffee reduces risk of developing MCI
According to a latest study, conducted in the beginning of this year, drinking a consistent, moderate amount of coffee each day significantly reduces the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a precursor to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The research team evaluated 1,445 people, ages 65-84. They found that people who kept their daily coffee intake steady at one cup a day were in the best mental shape compared to others with more erratic coffee habits.
Caffeine improves learning by 10%
Studies also show that caffeine improves learning by up to 10%. Caffeine can even relieve headaches and migraines by constricting blood vessels in the brain that are opening too wide. That makes drinking coffee one of the easiest brain performance hacks ever.
Caffeine gives surge of energy!
When caffeine blocks adenosine, stimulating brain chemicals like glutamate and dopamine flow more freely — gives you a surge of energy, improving mental performance, and slowing age-related mental decline. Caffeine also increases serotonin, a major mood influencer. The boost makes you feel more positive, and it’s strong enough to measurably affect depression.
Your brain and caffeine
When coffee’s primary active ingredient caffeine hits the brain it suppresses a neurotransmitter called adenosine. Adenosine influences attention, alertness, and sleep. It builds up in your brain as the day goes on, like mercury rising in a thermometer. When adenosine hits a certain level, your body decides it’s bedtime. You have trouble staying awake and paying attention. When you sleep, adenosine resets, the thermometer drops back to zero during the night, and you wake up in the morning alert and ready to go.
It is better or worse, not known
“We don’t really know if it’s better or worse, but it’s interesting that these are relatively low-level areas. It may well be that I’m more fatigued on those days, and that drives the brain into this state that’s focused on integrating those basic processes more,” Poldrack said. Researchers now want to study the phenomenon in patients with neurological disorders, who may suffer from disrupted connectivity.
Being caffeinated radically changes connectivity of brain
“Easily the biggest factor we found in terms of affecting my brain connectivity was whether I had breakfast and caffeine or not,” Poldrack was quoted as saying. “That was totally unexpected, but it shows that being caffeinated radically changes the connectivity of your brain,” he added. With low levels of caffeine, the connection between the somatosensory motor network and higher vision grew tighter.